Go to the furniture stores, high end and low priced, both. Ask about the features of the different pieces. Look at the woods and construction. You should be able to see the difference and recognize features. Next go to the used furniture stores and antique malls. If two pieces are similar in looks, but have a price difference, study each piece to know why.
Now you are ready to hit the garage sales. Hopefully you will be able to recognize a very good piece at a huge savings from buying new. Remember that quality furniture can retain its useful functionality many times over the expected life of lower priced new.